Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Odyssey - post IX

This book has been a real surprise because it is nowhere near as dry as expected and has a real rip roaring yarn at its heart full of everything and the way that Homer builds things to the moment when Odysseus reveals himself has been repeated hundreds of times since in literature and in film

Bullet points from chapters nineteen to twenty one

Odysseus talks to Penelope and although she in a dream like state seems to recognise him she still goes to sleep weeping and prays for an end to her misery

Meanwhile Odysseus spends a mainly sleepless night seeing yet more evidence of how little respect there is in the palace for his family or his memory

The pressure starts to build and the weapons are hidden from the suitors but they continue to laugh at Odysseus and his son and criticise the ‘tramp’ for staying around the palace

There are several servants who appear for the special holiday that are keen to express support for Odysseus even if it us unfashionable

Twenty One
Penelope ups the ante and brings out a bow and arrow that belonged to Odysseus and tells the suitors that the one that can fire the arrow accurately at a target will win her hand but they all fail to even pull the bow back

Odysseus asks for a go and despite protests gets the bow and pulls it back and this is the moment that we have all been waiting for when the suitors realise who they are dealing with

“Odysseus in one motion strung the bow.
Then slid his right hand down the cord and plucked it,
so the taut gut vibrating hummed and sang
a swallow’s note.

In the hushed hall it smote the suitors
and all their faces changed.”

The end comes tomorrow…

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